Friday, February 20, 2015

Canotrouge's Sitka Spruce Paddles

I recently got in touch with a fellow paddle maker over on the forums who goes by the handle Canotrouge.

Originally from Quebec, he's now living the life most of us outdoor lovers can only dream of, way up in Canada's beautiful Yukon Territory. Here's a little writeup I asked him to provide about his paddle creations:
"I use mainly sitka spruce, because it is light, stiff and somewhat easy to get up here and at a fair price. I did a few out of cherry and walnuts, ash and a mixed of all of them, I like them also, but they are so much heavier.
I get my inspiration from the eastern Canadian first nations, but with my own touch, I'm not into accurate reproduction of let say a Maliseet or Passamaquoddy or Cree, but I use some of their characteristics to create my paddles.  
All my paddles have a reinforced tip of hard wood, mainly white ash and several coats of spar varnish (at least on the blade) after I put several coats of boiled linseed oil and or Tung oil. I some time use milk paint or aniline dye to colour the blade or other parts of the paddle."  

Here are just a few photo samples of his lovely work. More closeups can be found on his  Pinterest page...

Also very nice is the leather strap hanger found on some his paddles. It is reminiscent of the leather paddle harness sold by Norquay Canoe Co (see post here). I've recently made similar hangers from leather scraps and will post pics soon, but in retrospect, I like Canotrouge's elegant design more. 

Canotrouge's talents are not just limited to paddles. For more of artistry and woodwork, be sure to check out the facebook page for his workshop - Au Nord du Nord Woodwork.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tobique Canoe Camp

The Toronto Reference Library has a huge collection of rare books in their archived stacks. While waiting around for some medical appointments, I quickly popped in and checked out a hard to find canoeing book now out of copyright - Camping and canoeing : what to take, how to travel, how to cook, where to go by James Edmund Jones (1903). It was actually published here in Toronto and features some grainy photos of the author's style of canoe tripping.

A particularly engaging photo is one of a canoe shelter camp on the banks of the Tobique River in New Brunswick. Poles rigged up with a tarp over the canoe hull provide a minimalist shelter with logs piled up in front for a reflector fire. The guide poses with his paddle on the right.

Up the Tobique Canoe Camp

For similar historic pics of these style of camps, check out the previous post on Canoe Camp Shelters.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rod & Gun - Paddle Clothsline Camp

The  July 1910 edition of Rod and Gun in Canada (Vol. 12 No. 2) features a descriptive article entitled "Canoeing on Lake Superior" by Frederic Goodson Higbee. Along with lovely images of the landscape, page 167 features a panoramic photo of the author's camp. It features a comfortable looking Baker / Campfire tent rigged up by the shore.

What caught my attention was the lengthy clothesline stretched out in the background set up so that it would catch the breezes by the shore. Though the image is grainy, you can see one end of the line anchored to the canoe with a paddle used as an additional height support. Looks like another creative way to use a paddle while in camp.

Paddle Clothesline support - closeup

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